Portable, Powerful, and Compact
Smaller outboards are the heart and soul of many boaters young and old.
Engine power is important on a boat, even for the small ones that tool around in the mangroves, backwater creeks, and lakes where the big boys can’t go. Portable outboards fit the bill for these vessels because they’re lightweight, yet powerful enough to move along at a quick pace.
Most manufacturers have a wide range of outboard power depending on where you want to go and how fast. There are many lakes that have a 25-hp limit, so for boats that weigh around 1,000 pounds, a 25-hp will work well; however, it depends on how much added weight you carry from gear and passengers. With any boat, it’s best not to under power, so follow the manufacturer’s max rating. Here are five portable, powerful, and lightweight 25-hp outboards to consider.
After winning an NMMA Innovation Award in 2017, Yamaha’s F25 is expanding its options for 2022. The lightweight outboard line added two short shaft (15-inch) power trim and tilt (PTT) models and another two models with a new factory-installed tiller handle.
David Meeler, new product introduction manager of Yamaha Marine Engine Systems, says the 25-hp model, available in a two-stroke or four-stroke configuration, is the highest power-to-weight ratio in its class, and the PTT feature is now available on short shaft models, either tiller or remote control. The factory-equipped tiller models with PTT boast a new, tiltable handle that is shorter and smaller for ease of use where space is limited. “Boaters can also use the PTT switch when the outboard and/or handle is fully tilted up, allowing for easier access when trailering,” he says. Yamaha’s Variable Trolling RPM Switch is also standard on these new models.
The 432-cc outboard features batteryless EFI (electronic fuel injection) as a manual or electric start model and weighs between 126 and 143 pounds depending on shaft length. yamahaoutboards.com
Those who really want to get into the shallows will like Mercury’s 25 jet-drive outboard. The four-stroke outboard is designed to go where props can’t operate. Configured with electronic fuel injection, electric or manual start, and remote or tiller steering, the outboard weighs 186 pounds with a 15-inch shaft length. For those who prefer the prop (shown), the Mercury 25 EFI has the same start and steering features, and the lightest model weighs just 157 pounds. It is available with a 15- or 20-inch shaft length and has a manual or power trim system with a range of 16 degrees. Full throttle reaches up to 6,000 rpm. mercurymarine.com
Suzuki added a Lean Burn control to its batteryless EFI system to make the DF25A a technically advanced portable outboard. The smooth-running, “Next Generation” four-stroke engine delivers quick starts (one to two tugs), great acceleration and performance, and excellent fuel economy. It’s available with 15- or 20-inch shaft lengths and weighs 137 to 139 pounds, respectively.
The outboard is protected with Suzuki’s anti-corrosion finish to increase the durability of parts constantly exposed to saltwater. They also utilize roller rocker arms instead of a conventional sliding action to reduce friction, and the offset crankshaft decreases lateral pressure from the piston against the cylinder wall. The five tilt pin positions allow the boat to get in shallow water when desired. suzukimarine.com
There’s plenty of punch in the Honda BF25, and like all Hondas, it’s quiet. The 3-to-3 induction system (three-cylinder, three-carburetor design) helps keep the engine quiet but also provides for smooth throttle response and performance. Starting is easy with its Auto Start Enrichment, which acts as an automatic choke and adjusts as it warms up. An ergonomically designed tiller handle is longer, and the up-front shift lever along with throttle and steering friction adjustments and fingertip starting make for easier control. The PTT switch on the tiller allows a tilt range of 64 degrees and a trim range of -4 to 12 degrees, while the patented rubber mounts reduce vibration. Three-inlet cooling and forced air ventilation keeps the engine running cool. An alert system warns of any overheating and low oil pressure to prevent engine damage. marine.honda.com
Tohatsu incorporates advanced batteryless EFI in its next generation 25-hp, four-stroke outboard MFS25D available later this year. The EFI in the redesigned model, which also includes a 30-hp engine, provides for smoother operation, easier starting, and better fuel efficiency. Tohatsu reduced the outboard’s weight by almost 20 percent from its previous model and redesigned the tiller handle to include a stop switch, a four-step trolling speed control system from 750 to 1,050 rpm, forward-neutral-reverse shifter, and throttle friction adjustment. An electric start button and PTT switch are available on certain models.
The Tohatsu MFS25AJET is the jet-drive model that is ideal for shallow waterways. The single overhead camshaft has a unique nine-valve design with roller rocker arms that provide quicker throttle response with minimal friction as well as more durability against wear and tear. tohatsu.com